press release

October 7, 2022 - April 9, 2023
Palacio de Cristal

Pauline Boudry / Renate Lorenz
Glass is my skin

Museo Reina Sofía presents the last project by Pauline Boudry (Switzerland, 1972) and Renate Lorenz (Germany, 1963), who have been working as an artist duo in Berlin since 2007. Glass is my skin, located at Palacio de Cristal (Retiro Park, Madrid), recreates a large scenography from elements usually present at the artists’ work, such as smoke, scenery and performance, and focuses on several issues of their interest: a revision of cultural inheritance, gender discourse and, above all, queer theory.

Their artistic production questions the normativity of historical narratives, and the conventions associated with the spectator to generate new stages from which to reimagine them. Their work often revisits materials from a bygone era to recover marginalized or ignored readings, producing installations choreographing the tension between visibility and opacity. By way of approaches that blur the limits between film, dance, installation, social sculpture and performances, and which flow between reality and fiction, Boudry and Lorenz create settings which invite a collective negotiation with notions such as identity, stereotypes and resistance.

The Crystal Palace (Palacio de Cristal), with its translucent walls and following the modern idea of transparency, was built for the General Exposition of the Philippine Islands in 1887, aiming to better understand the life and culture of the inhabitants of the Philippines, a Spanish colony since the sixteenth century and thus for more than three hundred years. In this installation, the smoke becomes an aesthetic tool for undermining the Palace’s transparency as a regime of visuality. It also connects to the density of the queer club, where individual bodies transform into one collective body while dancing.

The stage is once again a fundamental element, as in previous works such as Loving, Repeating (2015). On this occasion, six stages of different sizes placed in various ways on the pavement of the Palace, which can be observed from various perspectives. In any of its versions, the stage confronts us with our own vulnerability and a fragility. For this occasion, Pauline Boudry / Renate Lorenz have collaborated with Berlin-based composer and performer Aérea Negrot, who gives voice to the Crystal Palace throughout the exhibition. Negrot's voice moves around the Palace through 17 loudspeakers distributed throughout the space. Consequently, if the audience wish to follow the song, they are forced to move. They generate a choreography, and tempt the disobedience of the individual as well as the possibility of moving in concert with other people. The movements of the public make it an active installation in constant transformation that gives us a glimpse of possible ways of togetherness.